June 19, 2022

Second Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • 1 Kings 19:1-4, (5-7), 8-15a
    • Psalm 42 and 43
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Isaiah 65:1-9
    • Psalm 22:19-28
  • Second reading
    • Galatians 3:23-29
  • Gospel
    • Luke 8:26-39

The gospel from Luke:
Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs.

Jesus, the Gerasene, and the Unclean Spirits
ca. 1886-1894 Tissot, James*
Brooklyn Museum
New York, NY

When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”– for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission, Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed.

Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

*Notes: The Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ project took nearly ten years to complete. When it was done, it chronicled the entire life of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament in a series of 350 watercolors. To research the project Tissot traveled to Egypt, Syria, and Palestine in 1886–87, and again in 1890.

Pastor Stevensen this Sunday admitted that the gospel reading this week can present some difficulty. A student class was once asked if they believe in angels. Most hands went up. When asked if they believe in demons, no hands went up, but neither would they say why. A modern view is that this reading has to do with animal cruelty. But this was not the case in Jesus’ time. So what is the benefit of the reading? Jesus had reason to go there. He was the undisputed master. He drove out demons. What is the purpose of this and the other miracles? It showed that God was present in Jesus. The miracles were like an afterthought. Jesus was God as man. The demons could not help themselves. Jesus parks them in the pigs. The proclamation goes forth in spite of the demons, in spite of evil. Is it not like the world today? Does it not depict 2022? The afflicted man was sent home to spread the news. Pastor continues in his sermon to tell us we are to go out into the world and do the same.

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